About the disposable helium tanks to "inflate balloons yourself":
Read the label carefully when buying these disposable helium tanks. On the box it tells you that it inflates, say, fifty balloons, but in small print the say in all honesty - 9'' balloons. The problem with that is - 9" balloons are not supposed to be filled with helium! Flying time is very short, the lifting power is so small that they can lift their own weight and the weight of ribbon for a very short time. It might be OK for a small second birthday party at home for two hours. If you have something longer and larger, 9" balloons would not do the job. Long before the party is over, they are on the floor. The reason is very simple: they are designed to be inflated only with air. The smallest size of to be inflated with helium is 11", and they take a lot more. So you will have a lot less balloons inflated. See how much it will cost to fill up one balloon.
1. Can you buy balloons already inflated? Inflating balloons is not an easy thing, I know that better than anybody else, I inflated a few balloons a few years before I became a decorator and scared myself to death - they popped in my face! So, if you can, save yourself the experience. Call a local party store or local florist ahead of time and ask them to inflate it to the time you can pick them up. It might be cheaper, definitely faster. If you need a lot, see if you have a friend who can bring his or her car along - balloons take a lot of space!
2. If you need a lot and buying inflated is not an option - rent a tank. Call welding supply place (Google knows everything!) and check the prices. They will tell you about each tank how many balloons can be inflated depending on the size of the balloon. You can rent the helium dispenser there too. In order to save, pick it up and return the tank yourself. They will do it for you, but that can almost double the price.
3. You are in a hurry and disposable tank is the only choice. Make sure you find out how many 11" or 12" balloons can be inflated from this tank that you are buying and buy enough (2? 3? - do your math!)
Things to keep in mind:
- do not forget the ribbon, you need approximately 4' - 5' per balloon.
- do not buy helium balloons or inflate balloons with helium long before. Helium slowly escapes from the balloon through the rubber so flying time is limited. For the 11" balloons it is approximately 15 to 18 hours. (there is a remedy, but I do not suggest non-professionals use it)
- If balloons to be used outside - that is completely different story. Bright sun summer time kills balloons very quickly. White balloons have a little longer time, but still very little. If it is not in the shade - they will be popped very quickly. And another thing - wind will bang them against anything that is close. If it is a ruff surface, it will pop the balloon. Solution - air inflated balloons, or, should we say, under inflated. Under inflated white balloons on a stick will work.